LOS ANGELES – The LGBT Center in Los Angeles County announced Thursday it has joined a federal lawsuit challenging the Trump administration’s recent order prohibiting federal contractors and grantees from conducting workplace diversity training.
Describing the training, which cover topics such as implicit bias or critical race theory, as “divisive” and “un-American,” the order directs agencies to suspend or deny funding to contractors and grantees whose trainings or grant-funded activities cover those topics.
A message seeking comment from the U.S. Department of Labor, a defendant in the suit, was not immediately answered.
“The reality is you cannot segregate LGBTQ equality from racial justice,” said LGBT Center Chief of Staff Darrel Cummings. “Core to our mission is training other providers — from foster youth organizations and medical professionals to those who work to end homelessness — to ensure that, whichever door our community uses to access essential services, those services are provided in an LGBTQ culturally responsive manner.
“You simply cannot do this work without addressing institutionalized racism which LGBTQ, Black and indigenous people of color have experienced historically and continue to face every day,” he said.
The Executive Order issued on Sept. 22, and subsequent Trump administration commentary, label the discussions of intersectionality, critical race theory, white privilege, systemic racism, or implicit or unconscious bias in diversity trainings as “race and sex scapegoating” and forbid agencies from addressing such so-called divisive concepts.
It directs agency heads to audit internal training curricula, discontinue these training, and conduct a similar audit of federal contractors which puts those contracts at risk.
“We are fighting three epidemics — COVID-19, HIV/AIDS and an epidemic of violence perpetrated against Black people by law enforcement,” said Camilla Taylor, director of constitutional litigation at the civil rights organization Lambda Legal, which filed the lawsuit on Monday.
“Communities of color face shocking health disparities with respect to both COVID-19 and HIV/AIDS. Black and brown people are more likely to get sick, and more likely to die as a result of systemic racism and sexism, structural inequities, and the role of explicit and implicit bias on the part of health care providers,” she said.
The suit, The Diversity Center v. Trump, was filed in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California on behalf of the LGBT Center and five other organizational plaintiffs — including an advocacy and service organization for LGBT seniors as well as HIV/AIDS health and advocacy organizations nationwide — a consulting company, and Los Angeles LGBT Center’s Health Services Co-Director Dr. Ward Carpenter as an individual plaintiff.